Close Up Interview with Artist Rebecca Hartstein

Rebecca & her pets Dog & Cat

Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.

I’m a painter, visual artist. Just finished a degree in the stuff last year, now I’m testing the water of the galleries and commissions shtick, doing okay. I do paintings mingling total abstraction with detailed, obsessive classical realism, sometimes master copies with heavy modification. I love ‘fixing’ pictures that are ostensibly too easy to get a handle on.

Who (or what) inspires you to do what you love in your own creative business?

Hah, my parents. They’ve never told me to get a real degree or get a real job.

Where do you get your inspiration from when you paint?

I get inspiration especially from a very discombobulated collection of sources. Sometimes an image will stick with me mercilessly, until I’ve put it in every painting for a couple of months. This happened to me last with pickle-jars, for a while everything I drew was floating in the murky stuff in the bottom of pickle jars. Sport, people, the landscape, it’s all good.
 Napoleon in his study

What are the five words that people who know you would use to describe you?

Carefree, loopy, shy, dopey, creative
Tell us about your very first job and what path have you taken since then?
My first, almost-unpaid job was scooping horse poop and carrying buckets of water at a stable. Fun times. Nothing I’ve done since has been vaguely related, but I still draw a lot of horses, I like how alien they are. A horse isn’t at all like most animals we interact with as humans. They’re prey animals, they constantly hover between being frightened of you and treating you like a herd-mate.

Describe a typical day in your studio space?

Chat to your friends on the Internet, play with ideas and doodle and do some studies until about 1pm, suddenly realise you haven’t worked at all on your main project yet, work furiously on that for a few hours, forget to eat lunch until about 4pm when you’re really hungry, make yourself coffee while you’re thinking about the lunch you’ll eat, take the coffee back to the studio and forget lunch again. Fantasise often about the paintings you’ll do after the current five are finished.
As an Artist, what is your biggest frustration?
That I sometimes have a mind like a butterfly, always drifting between ideas and becoming briefly fascinated by things. Mostly I do eventually finish work, but I wish I could just lock myself onto something and not stop until it’s done.

Tell us about how you prioritise your work.

Hah, not sure. Commissions first, then everything else in order of how interesting it is at the time.

Can you please tell us about how do you connect with other artists, and your customers (i.e. how do you network)?

I connect with other artists through going to openings, talking to my artsy friends and being members of millions of online communities. is smashing if you want to make friends with illustrators and serious industry types. Customers often find me through my online presence in forums etc, or through the galleries my work is in.
 Rebecca & Zacc – at Tokyo Disneyland.

What advice can you offer other creative people who are just starting out and following their passions?

That you think there’s no opportunities, but really all you need is dedication and a willingness to put yourself out there, and things will appear.

What dreams do you still want to achieve or fulfil in your life?

I still haven’t done a big solo show, that’s next. Must do.

What is your proudest moment so far?

Selling a painting I thought was too weird for anyone to want- ‘Napoleon crossing the Alps’. It’s a big pink blob and Napoleon’s horse. There’ve been other things, but I’m proudest of that because it’s a painting I really wanted to do.

Who do you most want to meet and why?

Can’t pick one person! Maybe Robert Crumb…

What is the most important lesson in life that you have learned?

Pasta is always delicious, and should be cooked whenever you are sad or hungry.

What book are you reading right now, and do you have a book you would like to recommend?

The last novel I read was A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin. Fifth of the Song of Ice and Fire. Sounds pulpy, but it’s actually incredible – HBO’s doing a TV show of it now. Game of Thrones.

Where do we find you and your artworks?

My deviantart gallery, for sketches, illustration and chatting online:
Kaleidoscope Gallery in Waterloo:
  Contemplation of sublime nature beauty
Vinh Van Lam
the authorVinh Van Lam
Vinh Van Lam, co-founder of ArtSHINE, is a visionary art coach and entrepreneur with a passion for fostering creativity. With a diverse background in art and business, he brings a unique perspective to empower emerging artists, enabling them to thrive in the dynamic art industry through the innovative platform of ArtSHINE.

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